Elements of Fiction (Middle School)

From: $79.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 6th-8th

Live Class: Tues 1:00-1:50 p.m. EST

Course Dates: August 25th–May 1st

Price: $550

Instructor: Lili Serbicki

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Course Description

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This live online English class for middle school students introduces  literary devices, story structure, and human purpose within a variety of novels and short stories. It is appropriate for the rising 6th to 8th grader who loves stories and energetic discussion. Our course texts are chosen for their literary value (all texts are either established classics in the literary canon or Newbery Award Winners) and for their expression of characters who encounter authentic, exciting, and meaningful challenges and meet them in an engaging manner. This course features close reading, interpretation, and evaluation of fiction, with attention to authors’ contexts and their creative processes and narrative elements. My priority is to help prepare students for high school level literary analysis. With that in mind, our major goals will be:

– Examining major fiction elements, including: Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, Point of View, Dialogue, Figurative Language, Tone and Imagery.

– Making the “big leap” between story SUMMARY and story ANALYSIS. Once that leap is made, we’ve created the best possible preparation for high-school level work!

– Thesis writing and analysis and descriptive essay structuring. This class is appropriate for the essay “beginner,” as we will develop the building blocks of a strong basic analysis essay in this course.

– While vocabulary retention is important, our goal is to transcend that and truly enjoy interacting with the worlds and character we encounter – and respond with analytic (and creative!) attention.

– Students will have the flexible opportunity to respond with creative projects to some class texts as they develop their own voice and immerse themselves in stories!

Course Structure

Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students AND parents. Students will read regular posts and activities on the website. One weekly due date for all work allows busy homeschool families to retain their flexible schedule! Weekly activities may include:

– A weekly 50-minute LIVE MEETING.

– Interactive discussion of course texts and concepts in our website forum.

– Reading a portion of a novel OR a single short story.

– Analysis or creative responses through which we will practice evaluation of course concepts and essay structure.

– A mandatory midterm paper OR oral presentation in response to a class text. All longer projects will have multiple “check in points” and be completed over multiple weeks to allow students to feel secure and confident about their “final draft” and help them submit their best work possible!

– Vocabulary extra credit games and other bonus assignments.

Who should enroll?

This class is appropriate for the rising 6th to 8th grader who possesses a love of story and energetic discussion.

Technology Requirements:

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

Students will receive extensive comments and individualized feedback on their written assignments through our Canvas website. All project instructions include clear rubrics so students may feel confident they understand what is expected; in addition, all longer projects are completed through multiple drafts with instructor feedback each step of the way. Student work is critiqued within 1 week of the due date.

Communication

No application is necessary; parents may register directly. I will contact parents as soon as registration has been processed. Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. Students may view the detailed syllabus at any point to see what is coming up next. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students AND parents. Students will read regular posts and activities on the website. One weekly due date for all work allows busy homeschool families to retain their flexible schedule!

Required Texts

  • Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (any edition)
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (any edition)
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (any edition)
  • Holes by Louis Sachar (any edition)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (any edition)
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (any edition)
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (any edition)

Classic middle-school oriented short stories provided by the instructor.

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Instructor Bio

Lili Serbicki

Lili Serbicki is an experienced Advanced Placement English instructor with a professional background in writing, media, editing, and advertising. She is a 2009 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a BA in Communication Arts and a Minor in Philosophy. This upcoming school year will be her tenth year teaching high-level online courses, including AP Literature, AP Language, Creative Writing, poetry composition, argument and debate, and advanced test preparation classes. She has many years of experience providing student tutoring in areas of writing and mechanics as well as experience in small print publication and editing; she is a published author of poetry, fiction, nonfiction essay, and creative memoir across multiple literary journals. Over the past decade her students (including all course and tutoring students) have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In 2018 Mrs. Serbicki received recognition from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards as “an educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors.”

Classes:

Middle School Intro to Fiction
Fantasy and Sci Fi Writing
SAT English Prep
Creative Writing
AP English Literature
AP English Language

Email: lserbickiap@gmail.com

Video:

Lili explains the assignments and goals of her AP English Literature course.

Lili discusses her AP English Language course.

Lili describes the assignments in her Creative Writing class.

All classes taught by Lili Serbicki